Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ASET at the American Epilepsy Society Conference

Brian Markely, Faye Mc Nall and Lucy Sullivan, ASET Booth, AES Conference

I just got back from a trip to Baltimore, to attend the American Epilepsy Society annual conference.  I am always impressed with the magnitude of this meeting, with over 4400 attendees!  It is also a very interesting mix of health care professionals: epileptologists and neurologists, nursing professionals, researchers, and various non-profit organizations with all kinds of connections to epilepsy.   There is a large international presence, and as a result of connections we made at our booth, we will be able to get some of the ASET publications translated into Spanish, which will be a wonderful thing to be able to offer to technologists internationally.
Lucy, and I set up an ASET Exhibit Booth, and Brian Markley, the ASET President elect, kindly helped us staff the booth throughout the weekend.  Can you guess what the most commonly asked question was, at our booth??  It was “How do I find qualified technologists to hire??” !
 I heard tales of positions open for over a year, chronically short-staffed labs, and new epilepsy programs about to open.  We gave out our ASET/ABRET resource informational folder, with the hopes that we could provide some help, and the complete list of Neurodiagnostic Schools, so that these people could contact the schools directly and hopefully hire new graduates.  We are so fortunate to be in a profession with such demand in the future!  The downside is, if we cannot provide the qualified help they are seeking, who will they hire instead of the skilled technologists?  While it is logical to start more neurodiagnostic programs at colleges around the country, this is easier said than done.  It takes years to write propsoals, research the potential market to present to a college Board, get approval from a State Board of Education and receive funding.

If anyone has any ideas about how to solve this staffing crisis, I am listening!  I read an article last week about the decline of popularity of expensive college degrees.  Parents and students are finding themselves burdened with $80,000 in student loans for a four-year degree when the graduate is unable to find work commiserate with the degree he/she holds.  The article predicts an upswing in technical careers, with less costly educations and urgent demand for skilled workers right now.  That means us, folks!  Let's hope that we can add to the ranks of neurodiagnostic technologists in the next few years.  You can also contribute to the education of future technologists by opening your lab to serve as a clinical site.

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